Consequently, most casework on schemes, users and promoters could be worked and managed in one place. HMRC’s Counter-Avoidance Directorate work to:-
- Tighten legislation it considers is being exploited
- Strength the reporting requirements required under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance (DOTAS) arrangements
- Challenge tax avoidance schemes where appropriate, including litigation before the tax tribunals and courts
- Use increased powers, including accelerated payment notices (APNs) and follower notices that require advance payment of tax in a dispute
- Identify any tax avoidance schemes where criminality or fraud is suspected; and
- Continue the debate about the line between legitimate tax planning and tax avoidance and the public's perception that tax avoidance is not acceptable.
Those who have engaged in tax planning that is perceived by HMRC to be tax avoidance are far more open to scrutiny than ever before with HMRC considering their tax affairs in depth with potential financial and reputational repercussions.
Tax enquiries into tax avoidance schemes are often lengthy, wide-ranging and highly technical. We are increasingly being contacted by clients/agents who have been using tax planning providers to invest in what they believed were investment products with tax benefits that are now being investigated by HMRC and viewed as toxic and contrived. Often the tax planning provider are no longer in business leaving the clients without technical and strategic support/advice to deal with the detailed technical arguments and requests for voluminous information.